E-Mail That Goes Straight to Video

While many marketers still grapple with the text-versus-HTML email question, others have moved on… to video email.

No, this isn’t the usual embedded email link that brings you to a video. Instead, when you click on the subject line, the video begins immediately. With AviMail technology, audio and video are compressed into an email that can play on any browser at any speed.

Take a look at this one, created by HMI for The Inverness Hotel and Conference Center in Denver.

This email was sent as the final piece in a campaign targeted at group meeting planners. List members were qualified meeting professionals who had interacted in the past with Inverness or had expressed interest in holding a meeting in Denver.

Prior to the email, four direct mail pieces were sent. Each focused on one of the four key messages that differentiate Inverness from its local competitors. All four messages are featured in the video:

  • Workspace: This message showcases the meeting experience Inverness offers.

  • Network: This one highlights Wi-Fi and Internet access.
  • Soul: Work/play options. The golf shoe image relates to the on-property golf course.
  • Rewarding: The cake refers to the hotel’s reputation for culinary excellence.

By the time the meeting professionals received the video email, they hopefully were already familiar with both the campaign and the hotel.

Because of this familiarity, meeting professionals didn’t need a catchy subject line beyond “Inverness Group Meetings” to open the message. They didn’t know they were opening a video until they clicked. Once the 45-second video ended, meeting planners were invited to click through to the Web site to receive a gift –one they could pick up by visiting Inverness and speaking with a sales representative. The gifts were tied into the four key messages:

  • Workspace: A weekend at the Inverness

  • Network: A PDA
  • Soul: A complimentary round of golf
  • Rewarding: Dinner for two

Once at the Inverness Web site, meeting professionals could click the “Request an RFP” link and fill out a short form to get a quote.

The Results

This email effort was a critical element of the campaign. It provided an immediate opportunity for interaction and significantly compressed the sales process. The email was distributed to 5,015 meeting planners. Of these, 2,334 were successfully opened, and 5.74 percent clicked through for additional interaction with the sales team. In the end, the email exceeded projections by 34.8 percent of the original goal and outperformed the direct mail part of the campaign by almost double.

Richard Cassey, HMI’s director of agency services, believes video provides a breakthrough creative approach in the saturated hospitality industry, where each property’s advertising has begun to look and feel very similar.

By focusing the entire campaign on the end user’s needs (rather than on the property itself), the creative was more relevant. No property shots were used, nor were there any mentions of the conference space or number of guestrooms. Visuals and copy evoked emotion and challenged people to think about meetings differently.

Cassey also told us HMI was able to track and actually change the subject line on email that remained unopened for 24 to 36 hours in the hope another approach might be more enticing.

We’ve got more business-to-business case studies on the way, showcasing new uses for innovative technologies. But we always need more! Send them to Karen.

Want more email marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our email columns, organized by topic.

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